[kuh n-dish-uh-ning]
See more synonyms for conditioning on
noun Psychology.
  1. Also called operant conditioning, instrumental conditioning. a process of changing behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject each time an action is performed until the subject associates the action with pleasure or distress.
  2. Also called classical conditioning, Pavlovian conditioning, respondent conditioning. a process in which a stimulus that was previously neutral, as the sound of a bell, comes to evoke a particular response, as salivation, by being repeatedly paired with another stimulus that normally evokes the response, as the taste of food.

Origin of conditioning

First recorded in 1915–20; condition + -ing1
Related formsself-con·di·tion·ing, adjective


[kuh n-dish-uh n]
  1. a particular mode of being of a person or thing; existing state; situation with respect to circumstances.
  2. state of health: He was reported to be in critical condition.
  3. fit or requisite state: to be out of condition; to be in no condition to run.
  4. social position: in a lowly condition.
  5. a restricting, limiting, or modifying circumstance: It can happen only under certain conditions.
  6. a circumstance indispensable to some result; prerequisite; that on which something else is contingent: conditions of acceptance.
  7. Usually conditions. existing circumstances: poor living conditions.
  8. something demanded as an essential part of an agreement; provision; stipulation: He accepted on one condition.
  9. Law.
    1. a stipulation in an agreement or instrument transferring property that provides for a change consequent on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a stated event.
    2. the event upon which this stipulation depends.
  10. Informal. an abnormal or diseased state of part of the body: heart condition; skin condition.
  11. U.S. Education.
    1. a requirement imposed on a college student who fails to reach the prescribed standard in a course at the end of the regular period of instruction, permitting credit to be established by later performance.
    2. the course or subject to which the requirement is attached.
  12. Grammar. protasis.
  13. Logic. the antecedent of a conditional proposition.
verb (used with object)
  1. to put in a fit or proper state.
  2. to accustom or inure: to condition oneself to the cold.
  3. to air-condition.
  4. to form or be a condition of; determine, limit, or restrict as a condition.
  5. to subject to particular conditions or circumstances: Her studies conditioned her for her job.
  6. U.S. Education. to impose a condition on (a student).
  7. to test (a commodity) to ascertain its condition.
  8. to make (something) a condition; stipulate.
  9. Psychology. to establish a conditioned response in (a subject).
  10. Textiles.
    1. to test (fibers or fabrics) for the presence of moisture or other foreign matter.
    2. to replace moisture lost from (fibers or fabrics) in manipulation or manufacture.
verb (used without object)
  1. to make conditions.
  1. on/upon condition that, with the promise or provision that; provided that; if: She accepted the position on condition that there would be opportunity for advancement.

Origin of condition

1275–1325; Middle English condicioun < Anglo-French; Old French < Latin condiciōn- (stem of condiciō) agreement, equivalent to con- con- + dic- say (see dictate) + -iōn- -ion; spelling with t by influence of Late Latin or Medieval Latin forms; compare French condition
Related formscon·di·tion·a·ble, adjectiveun·con·di·tion, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for condition

See more synonyms for on
1. See state. 8. requirement, proviso. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for conditioning

Contemporary Examples of conditioning

Historical Examples of conditioning

  • It has to do with conditioning the human being for the exigencies of life in peace or in war.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • The trouble was in his conditioning, started when he was an adolescent.

  • There is an immense mental bang and the conditioning goes poof.

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • One, that with your return the conditioning should be broken.

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • This conditioning process will be augmented by the use of the sleep period.

British Dictionary definitions for conditioning


  1. psychol the learning process by which the behaviour of an organism becomes dependent on an event occurring in its environmentSee also classical conditioning, instrumental learning
  1. (of a shampoo, cosmetic, etc) intended to improve the condition of somethinga conditioning rinse


  1. a particular state of being or existence; situation with respect to circumstancesthe human condition
  2. something that limits or restricts something else; a qualificationyou may enter only under certain conditions
  3. (plural) external or existing circumstancesconditions were right for a takeover
  4. state of health or physical fitness, esp good health (esp in the phrases in condition, out of condition)
  5. an ailment or physical disabilitya heart condition
  6. something indispensable to the existence of something elseyour happiness is a condition of mine
  7. something required as part of an agreement or pact; termsthe conditions of the lease are set out
  8. law
    1. a declaration or provision in a will, contract, etc, that makes some right or liability contingent upon the happening of some event
    2. the event itself
  9. logic a statement whose truth is either required for the truth of a given statement (a necessary condition) or sufficient to guarantee the truth of the given statement (a sufficient condition)See sufficient (def. 2), necessary (def. 3e)
  10. maths logic a presupposition, esp a restriction on the domain of quantification, indispensable to the proof of a theorem and stated as part of it
  11. statistics short for experimental condition
  12. rank, status, or position in life
  13. on condition that or upon condition that (conjunction) provided that
verb (mainly tr)
  1. psychol
    1. to alter the response of (a person or animal) to a particular stimulus or situation
    2. to establish a conditioned response in (a person or animal)
  2. to put into a fit condition or state
  3. to improve the condition of (one's hair) by use of special cosmetics
  4. to accustom or inure
  5. to subject to a condition
  6. (intr) archaic to make conditions

Word Origin for condition

C14: from Latin conditiō, from condīcere to discuss, agree together, from con- together + dīcere to say
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for conditioning



early 14c., condicioun, from Old French condicion "stipulation, state, behavior, social status" (12c., Modern French condition), from Latin condicionem (nominative condicio) "agreement, situation," from condicere "to speak with, talk together," from com- "together" (see com-) + dicere "to speak" (see diction). Evolution of meaning through "stipulation, condition," to "situation, mode of being."



late 15c., "to make conditions," from condition (n.). Meaning "to bring to a desired condition" is from 1844. Related: Conditioned; conditioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

conditioning in Medicine


  1. A process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to associate a desired behavior with a previously unrelated stimulus.


  1. A disease or physical ailment.
  2. A state of health or physical fitness.
  1. To cause an organism to respond in a specific manner to a conditioned stimulus in the absence of an unconditioned stimulus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

conditioning in Science


  1. See classical conditioning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with conditioning


see in condition; mint condition; on condition that; out of condition.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.